We bet that most people are only faintly aware that the Ariel motorcycle brand existed at all. There was a time, though, when the British company was a pioneer in new and exciting technologies, innovating where others were content to soldier forward with tried-and-true methods. In fact, its eventual failure was due in part to its futuristic designs. For instance, Ariel introduced the world to its Square Four motorcycle in 1931. Named for its oddly-shaped engine architecture that placed four cylinders in a box pattern, the Square Four was completely unlike anything else offered at the time and used two sets of pistons mated at the flywheel inside a single engine block that was capped by a single head casting. Different to say the least, but ultimately pretty successful for Ariel, which went on to sell over 15,000 of the bikes before production ceased in 1959.
An interesting home-built hotrod has just shown up on eBay that mates this classic engine to a custom wooden body designed by – get this – a boat builder. The vehicle itself was inspired by a Modern Mechanix Magazine article from the ’50s and features a French connection by way of suspension components from a Citroen. Cadillac bullet-shaped tail lights may look a little out of place, but are nothing if not period correct.